Scrap Colonial Taxi Ranks – Nujoma

JUSTICE minister Utoni Nujoma has urged the municipality of Windhoek to get rid of commuter loading zones and implement a grand master plan to tackle woes faced by taxi drivers.

Branding the current setup as a colonial legacy during a National Assembly debate on a parliamentary report on taxis on Tuesday, Nujoma said the setup was based on “the old dispensation, the colonial type, where people had to come from the locations [Katutura] into the city to come and work”.

“And as a result all these mini buses would come to the city and cause congestion,” Nujoma said, adding: “We really need to plan and not look at the old dispensation as the only solution.”

Nujoma said using the colonial road system and small roads is the basic cause of the taxi woes and aised that a long-term solution should be found such as a “grand master plan”.

He made the comments in support of DTA of Namibia parliamentarian Katuutire Kaura’s proposal for a ban of taxi ranks. The comments also come after the Windhoek municipality had informed MPs in the parliamentary report that they had identified 301 sites for taxi ranks and loading zones in the city which will cost N$12 million to construct.

In his proposal, Kaura told the legislative house last week that Namibia is the only country he knows that has limitations on where taxis drop people.

“Let us deregulate the picking up areas for taxis so that we can standardise and be on the same level with the world. Where in the world do you find taxi ranks where they have to pick-up people,” Kaura said.

In support, Nujoma said: “What I know is that a taxi can drop people everywhere. I have travelled and I am confirming what I know. Even a taxi can drop you in front of the [Namibian] mission in New York.”

He suggested that the Independence Avenue, for example, should be used as an one-way road to allow for free flow of traffic.

The Ministry of Works and Transport, City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development as well as the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuumlr internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) worked on the transport master plan for Windhoek which was launched at the end of last year.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitution and Legal Affairs has recommended that the plan should be implemented as soon as possible.

Statistics compiled as part of the project show that the current population of Windhoek is slightly more than 300 000 and is expected to reach 700 000 by 2032. Traffic between Rehoboth in the south and Okahandja to the north is growing, with many people commuting from the two towns daily to work in Windhoek.

Speaking during the same debate, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa warned of imminent chaos if the taxi industry is not regulated.

“It seems we have more taxi vehicles than passengers,” he said, adding that loading zones in front of shops have increased chaos.

Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta lashed out at dishonest officials who dish out illegal drivers licences.

“They (drivers) cannot even tell you what a simple sign means, in any language,” he said.

Source : The Namibian